5 Benefits of a Remote Workforce

In the old days, people actually worked where they lived!?

Every morning, office workers woke up hours before they needed to be at work, dressed in business attirewe’re talking neckties and high heels – before driving to their company’s brick and mortar location. Oh, and if someone wanted to work for an organization in another state, or country, they upended their life and moved to that physical locale! Crazy, right?!

Though it sounds futuristic, this is our world, now. According to the latest telecommuting statistics, remote work (work-from-home) has grown by 140% since 2005, nearly ten times faster than the remaining workforce or those self-employed. The perks for remote employees are immense and easy to imagine, (saving hours of time in a commute that you could spend with family or on productive tasks) but how does managing a team across multiple time zones benefit the boss?

Limitless Talent

Let’s say you just started a tech company in Bluejacket, Oklahoma. You have the education, skills, drive, and capital to work your way up to the Fortune 500 someday, now you just need the talent. Except, you’re in a tiny town with very few candidates who possess the qualifications and passion to join your business. What now?

1. Throw in the towel
2. Turn your tech firm into a tomato farm
3. Cry
4. Expand your search outside of Oklahoma

Thankfully, the answer is 4. Developing a team of remote workers means the world is your talent pool, so dive deep! Considering candidates who telecommute means scouring the nation (and the planet) until you’re filling positions with the perfect people. Looking for an all-star analyst? They could be anywhere, maybe Ireland? That software developer you can’t do without? She might be living in Pittsburgh. When geography is eliminated from the equation, you’re free to find your industry’s rock stars, regardless of region.

Save Money (and Mother Nature)

Offices are expensive. From leasing office space to paying utilities, purchasing supplies to maintaining workers’ comp insurance; the day-to-day cost of congregating employees can deplete your resources before you’ve ever made a dime. Utilizing remote workers, however, eliminates most – if not all – of those expenses. Research shows the potential national savings for U.S. companies adopting telework, just half the time, could be as high as $700 Billion:

  • A typical business would save $11,000 per person per year
  • Telecommuters would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year

Plus, money isn’t the only green you’re saving. The same data predicts, with far fewer people driving to work, the greenhouse gas reduction is equivalent to removing the entire New York State workforce from the road, forever.

Broader Business Reach

If you’ve ever dreamed of running a national (or international) 24/7 business, pinch yourself! Remote teams aren’t only unencumbered by geographic boundaries; they defy time and sunlight too! Having team members dispersed across the country (or countries) means serving customers – on their schedules – regardless of address. The difference between the Eastern and Pacific time zones is three hours; close up shop at 6 PM in Connecticut and risk losing clients in California.

Additionally, the freedom telecommuting provides employees translates to people working when they are most productive. Hire a couple of night owls, and you’re waking up to an inbox full of completed projects to complement your coffee! The diversity remote workers provide might also lead to serving a foreign population in their native tongue or penetrating a market you had no idea existed.

Increased Productivity

Happy people are productive, period. According to a survey conducted by Remote.com, flexible hours ranked as the biggest employee benefit of working remotely. The ability to create a work/life balance rates higher on the happiness scale than even a bigger paycheck. That’s great news for startups and smaller companies more capable of offering split schedules over superior salaries.

Giving employees the freedom to choose when they work ensures they’re focused on and efficient with the task at hand, rather than worried about finding child care or mulling over a missed appointment. Everyone finds those “sweet spots” in the day when their mind is 100% ready to get the job done, it just may not fall between the hours of 9 to 5. Creating their own professional environment also puts productivity points on the remote team tally. For many workers, a home office (or kitchen table) is the first time they’ve had their own space; free from cubicles, last-minute meetings, and gossipy co-workers. Enveloped by the comfort of their own surroundings coupled with interruption-free hours, leads 91% of remote workers to get more done according to research by Affiliated Communications.

Employee Engagement

Hiring top talent won’t do much good if you can’t entice them to stay. In the age of the purpose-driven organization, employee engagement is the mantra. Workers who embrace the underlying corporate mission report feeling passionate about their jobs and committed to their company, and according to Gallup, telecommuters are no exception:

  • When expectations are clear, eight out of ten employers see a 14% reduction in turnover and a 7% increase in productivity from remote employees.
  • Telecommuters are looking for individualized recognition. Good employees who don’t feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to leave the company within the year. Praise for a job well-done increases engagement.
  • Personal contact with a supervisor is important to remote workers. Engaged employees feel those in-office treat them with respect, eliminating the feeling of being isolated or disengaged.
  • Lack of development and career growth is the primary reason an employee leaves a job. Nurturing and encouraging a remote employee’s development are imperative to engagement.
  • Although working off-site, remote employees must feel their opinions on company matters are valued. Promoting an open dialogue increases engagement.

We’re living in amazing times. Never before could companies harness the planet’s best talent, for a fraction of the cost, without a moving van! With the invention of email, video conferencing, Slack, and same-day shipping – very few industries are still resigned to the concrete confinement of their staff. Evolution is upon us and business is leading the way – the hiring world is your oyster – now go find your pearls!

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